Fri, 31 Mar 2023

SYDNEY, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- A new study led by Australia's Curtin University has revealed the "highly damaging" impact of fireworks on animals and the broader environment, calling for greener alternatives for light shows.

The study, published in the Pacific Conservation Biology journal on Tuesday, examined the environmental toll of firework displays by reviewing the ecological effects of major celebration events in India, the United States, New Zealand and parts of Europe.

The research team said in a statement that the timing of some large-scale firework events coincides with the migratory or reproductive movements of wildlife, and thus may have adverse long-term population effects on them.

Examples include fireworks in Spanish festivals impacting the breeding success of house sparrows and South American sea lions changing their behavior during breeding season as a result of New Year's fireworks in Chile.

Philip Bateman, lead author and associate professor from Curtin's School of Molecular and Life Sciences, told Xinhua that fireworks not only create noise and light disturbances that cause distress among domestic animals in the short term, but also have a much larger scale of impact on wildlife in the long term.

"Fireworks can have far-reaching effects through the pollution they produce as well as the noises and lights," Bateman said.

The expert pointed out that the noise from fireworks causes panic and heightened responses and induces animals to flee, which can result in birds at roost taking off at night in an attempt to escape.

In addition, pollutants such as heavy metals, once in the environment, can also have long-term effects on wildlife, degrading the environment and reducing the health of wildlife, he added.

Noting that firework bans at sensitive periods for wildlife migration or mating periods could limit the impact, the researchers are also calling for more environmentally-friendly ways to replace the firework, such as drones or other light-based shows.

"There is growing evidence that these community events can be managed in a sustainable way and it's clear that outdated firework displays need to be replaced by cleaner options that are not harmful to wildlife and the environment," Bateman said.

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